Saturday, April 4, 2015

{ arc } review || WIN BY SUBMISSION












Win By Submission by Melynda Price

Publisher: Montlake Romance (3/24/2015)
Series: Against the Cage, book 1
Genre: Contemporary, Suspense, Sport Romance
Source: NetGalley
Purchase links || amazon | bn (preorder) || add to goodreads

Rating: ★★★






To win her heart, he’ll be in for the fight of his life.


After an illegal kick during a CFA title fight fractures Cole Easton’s spine, doctors say there’s nothing more they can do for the bitter Vegas fighter. They say it’s a miracle he can walk, if that’s what you call his crutch-dragging limp. Unwilling to give up on him, Cole’s manager sends the injured fighter to the best physical therapist he knows: his niece, Katie Miller. When Cole arrives in the small town of Somerset, Wisconsin, he quickly discovers his sly manager may have had reasons other than rehab for sending him to this frozen tundra.

After a year of running from an abusive ex-boyfriend, Katie has returned to her hometown to care for her father, who’s recovering from a stroke. When Uncle Marcus calls in a favor, she reluctantly finds herself taking on a rancorous MMA fighter, broken at the height of his career. He’s insanely sex-on-a-stick hot—and everything she loathes in a man.

If Cole thinks his fighting days are over, he’s dead wrong. To save Katie from her past and to win her heart, he’ll be in for the fight of his life.


about Melynda || Melynda Price is the author of several contemporary and paranormal romance titles, including Until Darkness Comes, Shades of Darkness, Courting Darkness, and Braving the Darkness, all in the Redemption Series. Price writes for ardent readers who want to fall in love over and over again. Her goal is to make the unbelievable believable while taking her characters to the limit with stories full of passion, heart, and unexpected twists. Salting stories with undertones of history whenever possible, Price adds immeasurable depth to her well-crafted books. Win by Submission is the first book of her upcoming mixed martial arts–themed Against the Cage series. She lives with her husband and two children in Northern Minnesota, where there are plenty of snow-filled days to curl up in front of the fireplace with a hot cup of coffee and write.

{ review } .

This was one of those reads that I picked randomly... The synopsis was one that drew me in and I figured, eh, what the heck, let's give it a go. Besides, it takes place in Wisconsin and as much as I pretend to hate the state, I love when authors choose it as their main place.

My goodness, gracious, I'm so very glad I randomly chose this title.

The synopsis tells you what you need to know, basically. You have a physically broken MMA fighter and an emotionally/mentally broken physical therapist. While this book starts with Cole's fight/struggle to getting his legs back, it ends up as a story of both internal and external struggles.

Right off the bat, Cole is aware that Katie's hiding things. He's not quite used to being so attuned to a female so quickly, at least not in the sense he is with Katie. They start their relationship, if you will, at arms with one another. The last place Cole wants to be in cold Wisconsin -- with the warmest thing being the hoodie on his back. And then when he nearly runs down the heeled Katie, he growls at her -- yes, he's pissed. No, he doesn't think Katie's quite the miracle worker her uncle makes her out to be. He's pissy and sour bitter, and figures he'll be in that godforsaken chair forever. 

Granted, part of the growling deals with his attraction to the woman in the stupid boots, but...
The woman had his body responding like some pimple-face adolescent. It was fucking embarrassing.
Katie has had her fair share of overbearing athletes, and she's not about to let another one cower her. She isn't expecting to be attracted to Cole. But with his growling disposition, she figures the attraction is all one sided.

If it's one thing these two fail at, it's talking about feelings. Yeah, yeah, feelings are a touchy subject to broach, but so many things would have been easier to deal with had they just talked. Both came to the realization they loved the other on the same day... Yet it takes partial truths, scary incidences, and miles apart for them to finally admit it to one another (but I have to say, the scene with the heart palpitations? Gave me heart palpitations. My goodness gracious, do I love the way Cole loves Katie).

Even though I wished that they would do the girly thing and talk about their feelings, it was actually quite comical how their signals crossed -- even as early on as their first meal together. Cole goes to dinner in his initial foul mood, but his mood lightens as he watches Katie. His mind and his eye keep going to Katie and he realizes just how much he could, and does, want her. At the same time, though, Katie's feeling less than adequate due to the pretty waitress and customers throwing themselves at Cole. When one of the ladies offers him her bed and he politely refuses, Katie figures he's pissed at her for ruining his chances. Then there's the whole man-staring-them-down debacle and Cole's furious growl comes back to play and yeah... Katie doesn't think for a minute the man could ever return her feelings.

One of the many things I loved about Cole was that he nicknamed Katie 'Kat'. Why? Well, Katie already is a nickname for Katrina, and his first use of the shortened endearment was literally a slip of tongue. But what makes it so great is that his use of Kat grounds her. It's Cole's name for her -- no one else's. So when he recognizes her moments of terror, when he sees that she's not actually with him but somewhere in the head of hers, he uses Kat rather than Katie or Katrina -- names that could have her mistaking him for her fears.

Speaking of her fears...

I absolutely appreciated the consistency in Katie's character. She wasn't cowering and terrified one moment, and flippant and flirty the next. She had her cover, yes, but when actions and events triggered her memories and fears, Katie was Katie. I loved that Cole had to work to get her to open up -- even though when she first opened up, although not 100% more like ... eh, 85%, it was a case of word vomit. I loved that even once Cole got her to open up, he still had to work to earn her trust. No, she wasn't stringing him along and whatnot, her trust just needed to be earned and unfortunately due to circumstances, it was a step-by-step process. This screams real to me. It screams believable to me. So yes, I appreciated Katie's character development.

When Katie gets nervous or angry, her mind goes 100 mph. It's like... warp speed.

She also has a bit of a snarky attitude... at least in her head. 
Oh, and women loved him. This woman?--not so much.
But that's ok, because Cole's snarky out loud.
(scene: Katie hollering at Cole that he has twenty-five minutes to get ready and out the door)
He was generously compensating Ms. Miller for any inconvenience or disruption his presence caused her. He'd be damned if he was going to feel bad about making her a minute or two late. [...] The expression on her stoic face was unreadable, and maybe that was a good thing, because she was probably still pissed about that whole bedroom thing. He grabbed a banana from the fruit bowl in the center of the table as he made his way to the door. "If you don't hurry up, you're going to be late," he called over his shoulder.
 { I just love his smart-assed-ness there... }
"Where were you living before you came home to" --air quotes-- "visit?"
Yeah, his snarky is internal too.
If she'd meant that to sound intimidating, it was an epic fail. There was a particular part of his body he wouldn't mind her getting ahold of. And her threat had the damn thing rising up to volunteer as tribute.


hehehe.... ;)
Yes, that made me laugh. It just made me laugh again.

For such a serious book, I laughed a lot... like when Katie calls out Cole's name... and he's in another room... and he's not supposed to hear. Yeah, I laughed a lot there. Oh, and when Cole wonders if Katie feels up all her patients, because surely there's an ethical problem there.

These two... They're sassy and lovely and they have play-on-words fights and I just. Love. Them.

In the end...

While I loved the laughs, I loved the cross signals, and I loved how each loved the other (even when keeping it to themselves), it was truly the end of this book that had my heart doing somersaults. 

I loved Katie. I loved Cole. I loved how Cole loved Katie.

Gah, I want to see these two again and again and again.

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